Tuesday, November 28, 2006

BBC: Old Radio & TV Terminology is Obsolete

Informitv reports that Peter Salmon returns to the BBC as chief creative officer of BBC Vision Studios. The latest game of musical deckchairs follows a radical restructure announced by the BBC director general Mark Thompson earlier in the year.

BBC 'Vision' is the new name for Television and it brings together a number of former production divisions, now to be organized into 17 production studios, within a single multi-platform department of some 5,000 staff. BBC 'Audio and Music' is the new name for Radio, while 'Journalism' is the new name for News, and 'Future Media and Technology' is the new name for New Media and Technology.

The charter of the Vision studios will be to make propositions work on many different platforms such as the web, mobile phones and interactive technologies, as well as the traditional platforms such as television and radio. Commissioning will be separate from production, with 25 percent of programming coming from independent production companies and a further 25 percent open to competition between independents and in-house producers.

Within BBC Vision there will be a number of new multi-media executives. Simon Nelson moves from radio and music to become multi-platform controller, overseeing the strategy for multi-platform services and content. The new roles of head of multi-media studio, four multi-platform commissioning executives and three multi-platform channel editors are being added.

The Future Media and Technology group aims to pull together technology initiatives into a single department with around 1,300 staff and an annual budget of 500 million pounds. The group will be responsible for the prioritization, information architecture, design and navigation, and the build and support of applications and services.

Ashley Highfield, director of the technology group, called it a "seismic moment," with plans to increase spending on key projects to allow users to download programs and archive material and build a new online platform based on Web 2.0 principles.

Ultimately, I believe that many traditional content producers and distributors will be following the BBC's lead, and acknowledge that the inherent flexibility of digital media breaks down the rigid barriers that previously separated the analog media business models. The terminology, and implied constraints, of the old radio and television era just don't seem to be appropriate anymore.

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